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Pink dolphin -- a rare albino -- spotted in Louisiana shipping channel

May 29, 2009 | 10:42 am

We first told you in March about the sighting of a pink bottlenose dolphin in Louisiana waters.  We weren't kidding then and we aren't kidding now -- and we have the video to prove it!

The dolphin, believed to be about 2 1/2 years old and first noticed by locals when it was just a calf in June 2007, is an albino -- and only the 14th of its kind ever reported worldwide. (Three have been sighted in the Gulf of Mexico area -- another in Louisiana, near New Orleans, in 1994, and one near Galveston, Texas, in 2003 and 2004.  But both were the more familiar pure-white color most people associate with albinos, rather than the even more unusual pink color.)

It was first sighted in Calcasieu Lake, just south of Lake Charles, La., and is spotted these days in the Calcasieu Ship Channel.  From the Associated Press:

"We see him on a pretty regular basis," said Roddy Blackburn, crewman and relief captain of a boat that ferries pilots to ships.

But spotting the pink one ... does take time. Michael Harbison, a state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist, has seen it several times, but only when he wasn't looking for it. He spent two trips — one for 10 hours — trying to locate it but didn't see the dolphin.

The albino is usually seen with four adults, and probably splits time between the Gulf and the lower 10 miles of the ship channel, said Harbison.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says no specific studies of the pink dolphin are planned, but it does plan to track it as closely as possible through reported sightings.

The pink dolphin's gender is unknown (although locals often refer to it as "him"). 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: Associated Press

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